- people on the move
Dangerously high water levels require immediate action
We have witnessed the highest lake levels since the mid-1980s. Seeing the devastation on both public and private lands truly has been eye-opening. There have been homes, yards, roads and dunes lost due to the erosion that has occurred. There has been a large increase in permit applications to construct erosion prevention measures like riprap, seawalls and sandbags. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy started to expedite permits, but with the increase of applications and statutes set in law, they are only capable of so much. It is time for the Legislature to take action.
I have introduced Senate Bill 714 to allow public municipalities and private property owners to protect their property when water levels get dangerously high. This legislation allows people to construct approved abatement structures first and then apply for a permit later. Cutting all the “red tape” will allow immediate action to be taken to protect our shoreline. There needs to be an emergency protocol in place so when we are faced with these high-water levels, the state, municipalities and property owners have a clearly defined plan of action.
To ensure this course of action is only used in true emergency situations, as we have seen this year, the protocol is only triggered once lake levels reach dangerous heights. By basing the lake level triggers on sound science and historical data, this emergency action plan would have been triggered only a handful of times since the 1950s.
The lake conditions we currently are seeing do not happen often, but when they do, it can be catastrophic to our public parks, infrastructure and private homes. This legislation does not provide any funding or additional support for building the erosion control structures, but it does clear the path for people and local governments looking to protect their property from rising lake levels.
State Sen. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, represents Michigan’s 30th district.